Is it too much to ask for manners and respect at initial meetings? I mean, why would someone be rude unless offense was given straight away?
Too much to ask? Certainly not. Good manners are more than merely quaint archaic social niceties. The Victorians placed great emphasis on good manners and for good reason. They are the way civilized people show respect for one another. A preocupation of many Victorians was their standing amongst their peers. The greatest compliemtn one could give another would be to say of them "there is a gentleman," or "there is a lady." At its base, a gentleman, or lady, is one who seeks at all times, in so far as they are able, to put those around him or her at their ease. Good manners are the tools by which one accomplishes this.